What happened on the second day of our annual conference? Read about our activism and training day.
The second day of our annual conference was a series of interactive training sessions to share information on how to campaign, plus an all-day hack space. If you missed it, read our blog about the first day.
What happened at ORGCon Day 2?
ORG has a fantastic community of supporters, who are genuinely involved in our work. This helps us to be more effective in our campaigns and stay focused on the people whose rights we are protecting. The aim of Day 2 was to bring our members and supporters together and talk about how they can get more directly involved with our campaigns.
We opened with two inspirational and informative stories of successful campaigns. Johnny Chatterton, co-founder of Campaign Bootcamp, talked about community-based activism changing national policies in the Save Our Forests campaign with 38 Degrees. Their actions helped stop the government sell-off the UK’s forests. Read more about how that happened.
Then Mike Harris, Campaign Director for Don't Spy On Us, described how the Libel Reform campaign led towards the passing of the Defamation Act in 2013, which helps protect authors and bloggers from being sued for libel. Read more about it. It was interesting to hear about the big setbacks that they both overcame – especially given some of the big challenges we face at the minute.
After this we moved on to a series of interactive training sessions: running a campaign group in your area, talking to your MPs and MEPs and securing media coverage. Our session on running a Local Group was particularly successful.
Local groups are our campaign groups across the UK. ORG members and supporters set them up, run them and organise events around digital rights topics with support from our Local Groups Co-ordinator. Digital rights affect people beyond London and Westminster and we are really committed to making sure that we are a grassroots organisation for everyone in the UK. In the session, we talked about how we can help our members organise activities that reflect that.
ORG will be organising a series of public debates with candidates from every political party across the UK and need your help to hold one where you live. We discussed the opportunities in different regions to make mass surveillance an issue politicians care about in the run-up to the general election, through helping organise these and making them a success.
In the afternoon we held sessions to generate ideas for three of our campaigns: copyright reform, TTIP and mass surveillance. It was highlighted in the 'Don’t Spy On Us’ session that we should aim to get manifesto promises from candidates and MPs on surveillance issues. Learn more about DSOU.
Throughout the day we had a room set aside for all those interested in building technical tools and projects together (the 'hackspace'). They came up with all sorts of interesting projects which you can still get involved in if you like to code for a hobby. So what did they do?
- Made a start on some Firefox and Chrome extensions for the Blocked project, allowing people to find out which networks a site they are visiting is blocked on. The code for Firefox and Chrome is available on Github.
- Built an amusing diversion that invites you to guess whether a quote was said by a dictator or a democratically-elected politician: http://dictatorornot.appspot.com Code here.
- Had an idea to build a system of notifications for privacy violations in software, similar to those currently sent out for security problems. https://github.com/openrightsgroup/common-privacy-violations
- Started on a program which parses your public utterances and then tries to frame them in an embarrassing and damning fashion, thus demonstrating that algorithmic content-searching can harm you even if you have nothing to hide!
"Give me six tweets by the most virtuous person and we will find within them something with which to hang them..." https://github.com/geokala/richelieu
How can you campaign with us?
Even if you didn't come to ORGCon Day 2, you can still support our campaigns in a number of ways. Please consider becoming a member.
You can also join or start your own local group where you can meet other ORG supporters who care about digital rights. Find out more about this, as well as other ways to get involved.
Read about ORGCon Day 1 and catch up on everything else that happened here.